Lucius read me his 1999 Columbine essay while he was working on it. We argued a bit. I said that maybe the subculture the Littleton shooters immersed themselves in had something to do with it — “all this Goth crap, for instance,” I said.
Lucius heaved a sigh like he always did when gently pressing against clear ignorance. “You sound like a crusty old man. These modes of rebellion aren’t new. The kids are all right, Bob.”
I’d forgotten much of the essay until Ellen Datlow resurrected it on her site the other day. In the interim, I read a lot of evolutionary psychology and social analysis, and I believe Lucius had the right of the argument. This bit especially stands out for me:
“If it were possible, however, I firmly believe we would discover that whatever has gone wrong with our culture has been going wrong for a long, long time, and that only recently have the symptoms of the affliction grown sufficiently pronounced to provoke our alarm. And I bet we would find that the causes of youth violence in cases like Littleton have a lot more to do with serotonin deficiences, pre- and post-natal care, early childhood experiences and nutrition, the over-prescription of antidepressants, parental dysfunction, lack of mentoring, and similar socio-biological factors than they do with all the really cool causes du jour like black lipstick, gypsy curses, and The Evil That Is N’SYNC.”